Your church and church visitors will understand something significant from how you present, store, maintain and access your church directory.
If you asked a couple you were visiting if you could view images of their kids, their response would reveal a lot about them.
Do they have grown children? but they just have snapshots of themselves as young children?
Are all of their photos stashed away in a box?
Do they have any formal photos of their family or are all of their photos candid?
A family's attentiveness, care, and relationship status are communicated by how they display and safeguard their photos and information.
In the same vein, the same can be said for a church directory.
There are some fundamental principles that should guide how you create and distribute your church directory.
By adhering to these principles, you can communicate cherishing, intimacy, respect, and professionalism that you might otherwise miss if you compose your church directory informally and haphazardly.
Let's dive right into these critical principles so you can create the type of church directory that attracts new visitors and excites members to be a part of it.
- Never list information about children in your directory
It would be a mistake to post children's information—including home phone numbers and addresses—in any kind of public book or website that is available to the public. Some churches will list children's first names in an internal directory for the church.
For the protection of children and liability concerns, this information should be kept internal and confidential.
Treating this information as sensitive data will demonstrate to members that you are concerned about child safety and church security, as well as to those without children, that the church is concerned about protecting the data it receives from its members. This will increase trust (and consequently engagement) among churchgoers.
- Accessibility should require membership sign-in.
The "public" and "private" components of the directory can be divided in this manner fairly easily.
You make it necessary for users to pass through a minimal level of membership screening in order to access a level of information that other parties have agreed to share only with members by requiring a member to sign in to access certain parts of the directory.
You can achieve this by requesting that users accept a set of terms that commit them to keep the information private.
To achieve this level of security and make your members feel protected, you must use a secure church management system.
- Specify what data will be "public" and "private"
The Member Directory is a location in the Member Area where members can access a predefined list of church members and their contact information.
When creating a Member Directory, administrators can choose which people categories or demographics to display, as well as restrict the area to only show members and families associated with a person's departments or groups. Individuals can choose to hide specific fields in their profile within the My Account area as an additional custom privacy option.
For instance, the "Member Directory" feature in Churchplus enables you to internally store member information.
- Assemble as much data as you can.
Don't limit the information you collect for your directory to what you would reveal internally or externally to the church.
Assemble as much data as you can.
Obtain the names of the parents, emergency contacts, phone numbers for as many family members as you can, favorite Bible verses, ministries they have worked with, prior churches, etc.
You are not required to make all of this information public.
In actuality, the member data in your internal database—the church administration software—should be much more comprehensive than what you make public in the member directory.
This is crucial so that the pastor can review the details in a family's file and a member's file in the past to determine what historical data points can guide his care in situations that call for individualized pastoral care.
- Choose the Proper Church Management System.
You just shouldn't keep member data in an excel spreadsheet.
In contrast to the typical excel sheet, there are church administration software solutions that have been built to sync with the cloud, be exported, house images, save member information, publish directories, and manage member experience.
Utilize this tool because sooner or later, every church will be leveraging on a church management system.
The only decision to make is whether you want to adopt technology quickly or more slowly.
The church directory may be a fantastic tool for reviving the sense of community and engagement in your church.
It can rekindle the feeling of relevance and life in an older church.
A church directory can lend a sense of familial stability and history to a young, growing church, giving newcomers the impression that they are a part of something unique.
In any scenario, a well-done church directory is a great way to demonstrate to your congregation that you manage sensitive information discreetly while also caring about fostering community interaction by utilizing expert services to both promote and safeguard shared data.
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